I wish that when the founders were writing the constitution and the bill of rights that they had added a provision that could be looked at as “first, do no harm” or “primum non nocere” if you want to be fancy and use the Latin.
Think about what it would mean if we could apply that philosophy to some of the big issues of the day.
For example, you’re absolutely right that the Westboro Church has the First Amendment right to spew their hate and vitriol in the way that they do. But, what if we could show that because their speech causes mental harm to others. Could we use that as a test as to whether or not their speech should be allowed?
The same with the confederate flag. Yes, I know that those that fly it and think that it should be flown at statehouses, etc. consider it a part of their heritage and again their First Amendment right. But, shouldn’t their neighbors (whether their immediate neighbors in the personal sense or those that exist in the same city or state in the community sense) also be considered?
I could write a whole essay on how this applies to the Second Amendment. I completely understand why the Second Amendment was so important when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was written. We are a country of revolutionaries and the Second Amendment was absolutely needed at the time. These were people that had suffered under British rule — including forced relocation.
I wonder if the founders had the gift of foresight and could have seen the guns that are available today and how they are being used if the Amendment would have been written in the same way.
When will be able to say that the current gun laws allow for more harm than protection?